Patrick Hill Associate Editor
June 22, 2005
El Supremo's '98 Cobra was looking a little ragged with all the roadtime it's seeing, making it the perfect subject for our story. Eventhough some colors are better at "hiding" dirt and grime than others,that doesn't mean it's not there.

I love the smell of car wax in the morning! Smells like, like victory!

Washing your car is one of the few forms of cleaning that you canactually enjoy. To see your "baby" sitting in the driveway all clean andpolished, it's just a great feeling. Now's the time of year when the sunis shining, the breeze is blowing, and your car is dirtier than ever!With great driving weather comes more abuse and exposure to both theexterior and interior of your car. Bugs, road tar, acid rain, UV light,the whole platoon of car care enemies charge hard to destroy your car'sfinish.

Most places you buy car care stuff have shelves of differentproducts, from washes to waxes, bug removers to polishes, enough to givemost people a brain aneurism trying to figure out what they need fortheir cars. Then you have to figure out what's right for your car.There's so much out there, it's tough to figure out. Throw in how muchautomotive paint technology has changed since our fathers were caringfor their cars, and you could easily find yourself in the position ofusing the wrong product that can screw up your car's finish.

5.0 El Supremo Turner being scolded by Raquel for having such a filthyhorse. You invest a lot of money in your car, be it new, used orrestored. Spending a little money to protect that investment with goodcar care only makes sense.

A phonecall to Meguiar's Mike Pennington answered a lot of our questions. Mikeis the Director of Training for the car care giant, which meansoverseeing the various clinics and programs Meguiar's has for teachingproper surface care and educating about surface care products. He toldus about a lot of the myths and common mistakes in taking care of acar's surface.

One of the most important things when using any car care product is READTHE DIRECTIONS! With carwash soap, you can save yourself some money andwork by not using more soap than you should. A mixture of about 2-4capfulls of soap per gallon of water is correct. NEVER USE DISH SOAP!Dish soaps are extremely harsh and will dull the finish of your car'spaint. They're also harsh on rubber, vinyl and plastics.

With Mike's teachings in hand, we went forth to give the5.0 faithful the lowdown on car care, and some extra tips to make theend result shine better. Noticing the build-up of grime and lovebugs on5.0 El Supremo Steve Turner's once yellow Cobra (In his defense, thismeans he's actually driving the car!) we decided to use the boss' wheelsfor this story. Thanks also to Raquel Jerkins for standing in for thephotos and taking some of the attention away from Turner's dirty ride.

Getting Started

With surface care you can spend a couple of hours or awhole day washing, waxing and detailing. It all depends on how much youwant to do. Not everyone wants to spend a whole Sunday washing andwaxing, that's fine. One thing to keep in mind is the more time andsteps you take in caring for your car's paint, the more protection youhave. But some protection is better than none, and just washing andwaxing your car helps a lot.

For example, there is no all-in-one productfor car care. There are specific products to clean your finish, productsto repair damage, and products to protect your car's finish. You alsohave right and wrong ways to apply those products. For example, bug/tarremovers and scrubbers should always be used with care. These productsare solvents and could possibly damage your car's finish if usedimproperly. It's better to use a bug remover two or three times to getreally welded on bugs off instead of scrubbing down hard.

We usedsamples from the Meguiar's product line in this story, but the tips andadvice can be used with any company's product. For more car care tipsand info on Meguiar's product, visit its website at www.meguiars.com.

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